Temperatures of over 43°C in Southern California and the associated increase in air conditioning demand has led to a series of blackouts across Los Angeles. And it may be a sign of things to come.
Almost 100,000 customers in LA were left without power during a heatwave that set new records. According to the Los Angeles Times, “peak energy demand climbed to 6,256MW on Friday, knocking down the previous July record of 6,165MW set in 2006 and making it the fifth-highest peak demand ever recorded in the city’s history.”
Over the past two weeks, record temperatures have been recorded across the US and locations throughout northern hemisphere, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Potentially the highest temperature ever in Africa was recorded in Algeria, at 51.3°C, and the world’s highest ever low temperature of 42.6°C in Oman.
At the same time as the Earth is heating up, increased use of air conditioning is placing a greater load on countries’ power grids. In May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report that predicted the global stock of air conditioners in buildings would rise from 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by 2050.
All of this is increasing focus on the need not only to reverse global warming, but also to design a built environment that is energy efficient and can handle the challenges of a changing global climate.
As a result, the concept of resilience has come to the fore.
“Resilience is not just about enabling our buildings to withstand and bounce back from extreme weather, utilities failures and other catastrophic events,” says Nicki Parker, Sustainability Manager for Norman, Disney & Young and a member of AIRAH’s Resilience Special Technical Group.
“Resilient HVAC&R can directly address the number one opportunity to reverse climate change with better refrigerant management, as well as reducing energy costs, extending asset life and improving comfort.”
Parker will be speaking at the Resilience Forum 2018, in Sydney on July 26, along with other experts in this area such as Bec Dawson (Chief Resilience Officer, City of Sydney), Greg Johnson (National Sustainability Manager, Stockland), and Anna Brannon (Environmental Designer, Atalier Ten).